Missing Home and That Means Italy

August 3, 2021

That’s my home above. I am between Genoa and Sestri Levante. At least, that is where my apartment is, my home for the last 4 ½ years. And I am missing it.

Right now, I am in the USA, visiting family and friends. I do love them all. I really do. And I have missed some of them desperately over the 18 months of lock-down in Italy. My first family gathering after arriving at my sister’s home in Minneapolis, was at a restaurant in St. Paul, MN.

It was so much fun to see them all. We could barely all fit in the photo!

My friend, Mindy, took me out for a lovely, 3-course dinner in Minneapolis. We laughed and re-connected and ate very well.

Next, it was time for a picnic by the lake to celebrate my father’s 97th birthday. 5 of our six siblings were there. 

Geno, my godson, was in town from Dallas.

It was a beautiful night by the lake in St. Paul. 

Big brother Jim sits with Dad at the head of the picnic table.

It was good to see all these family members together. My brother, Michael, his wife Roxanne, and our brother, Joe all brought special foods and Dad was happy. I could see that dad’s dementia had gotten worse since I last saw him. I know he was happy to see us all together. 

Still, I was dreaming of Italy. Above is a taste of Bologna. 

All that time in Italy, all those days and nights in the heart of the Covid outbreak of 2020 and 2021, I yearned to feel the hug of a family member, a time to laugh with them. I waited 18 months for a visit back to the land of 10,000 lakes and my huge Italian family. And the best was yet to come.

My other God-son, Jim L. and his son, J.T., flew in from California to see us all—just for the weekend.

Both God-sons in the same place—that hasn’t happened since 2015 in Italy!

The frosting on the cake was the arrival of my girls, Stephanie and Maggie.

Here’s my beautiful daughter, Stephanie, with Jim. We had an entire day together, ending it at the Mall of America where we played 18 holes of miniature golf as a family with my other sweetheart, Maggie and Jim’s son, J.T. My time with them was the absolute best.

Living so far away from loved ones is difficult anytime. Covid-19 has exacerbated that ache a thousand-fold. When you have a deep bond with a person, those are the most important people in your life. Yet, we cannot always see them. We cannot always comfort them in person. We cannot always physically be there at their sides.

Many times I have questioned my choice to live in Italy. There is a hollow spot within me when I do not see these people for months. I cannot fill it. 

Yet, my daughter and god-sons support me in my adventure of living abroad. It is such a gift to feel their support. I have supported them throughout their lives. Still, having their love and support now is unexpected and deeply cherished.

The one person I wanted to share time with the absolute most is my granddaughter, Maggie. 

This child has changed the way I see the world. 

Thank you to my daughter, Stephanie, for sharing her sweet Maggie with me. 

Right now, I am spending most of my time and energy with my girls. Maggie keeps me busy day and night and, although I am tired, I love it all.

Still, each night, I dream of the waves of Liguria and an Aperitivo on the sea in Chiavari.

Last night I dreamed of the Vatican Gardens.

The night before, my dreams re-visited Tellaro on the Bay of Poets. The sunsets there are incredible.

Last week I dreamed of my time in Ortigia, Sicily, right as Covid-19 was hitting Italy. Ortigia is an ancient beauty thrust into the sea, a place where I will return.

Now, as I think about how much I miss Italy, I can imagine even more how it feels for so many lovers of the land of La Dolce Vita, the good life, who dream of their return or their first visit. We can all go back to Italy. There are rules to follow but Italy is still waiting for us all. I will return in September. Let me know when you will experience the beauty and wonder that is now my home. 

A dopo!

Ciao for now!

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